I have officially downsized. My Georgia house sold Friday so I'm a one-house granny again. But oh, the 6 1/2 weeks it took for that sale to be over were something else. The only comparison that comes to mind is Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
First, there was the day the house went on the market. Within hours I had TWO offers on it, both good but one was for my full asking price. That was a SHOCK - a good one, but still a shock. I thought the real estate market was supposed to be slow. PANIC soon followed because when I listed the house I learned that I had to go through Probate Court. What? I had asked if I needed to do something after Jimmie died and been assured that I didn't. Now I learned that just because the magic phrase "with rights of survivorship" was not included in all that legal jargon in my house deed technically it wasn't all mine, at least not until a judge said so. I had to hire a lawyer since I was living in another state by now - but honestly that was a good thing. What do I know about probate court? I quickly learned that it normally takes five weeks to get through it - but I only had four before the closing date. Suddenly everything was in RUSH mode.
Then the buyer ran into problems with FHA and we went into weeks of SILENT mode. I made numerous trips to the local library to fax contract extensions without knowing if my house was really about to be sold or not. So when my real estate agent called last Thursday morning to say that everything was finally approved and the closing was going to be the very next afternoon - well, I may not have been shocked but I was definitely startled. And then we were back to RUSH mode.
But Thursday night my agent called again with more news. It seems a wind storm went through Georgia that day blowing over a tree in my backyard and taking out part of my fence. She learned this when the buyers went to the house for their final walk through, so we were right back into PANIC. Panic from the buyers because even though I am fully aware that the cleanup is my responsibility they are afraid I won't do it. Panic from me because I'm 400 miles away and what on earth can I accomplish in the 18 hours before the closing time?
Thankfully, a wonderful friend in Georgia, William Howard, came to my rescue. William went to my house early the next morning to survey the damage, calling me from my backyard while he stood in the heavy rain that had followed the wind. Then he called an arborist to get a quote on removing the offending tree - and stood in the rain with him as well. William also assured me that once there isn't a tree sticking through the wooden privacy fence that he can repair it. Of course, nothing can be done until the rain clears next week, but William was able to put together a repair plan that pacified the buyer and salvaged the closing.
And then suddenly it was over. The house is sold and an important phase of my life is over. I have very mixed feelings about that. But one thing I am very sure of - William Howard was the hero of Friday. If you know William, please give him a standing ovation from me the next time you see him.